Good for business

GOOD FOR BUSINESS…. The Business Roundtable, which represents the chief executives of major U.S. companies, released an interesting report yesterday, explaining that improvements to the health care system would be good for business. Reform advocates, not surprisingly, were delighted.

If we’re going to be intellectually honest about the report, it’s worth remembering that the Business Roundtable’s conclusions fell far short of an endorsement of Democratic efforts. Indeed, it specifically rejected the idea of a public option, which reform advocates obviously want. The report also disapproves of the excise tax as a financing option.

That said, the business leaders highlighted the ways in which reform can help businesses currently getting slammed by increased health care costs, and are glad to see that policymakers are doing something about it. The White House wasted no time in touting the group’s conclusion, and President Obama said in a statement that the report “underscores what experts and businesspeople have told us all along — comprehensive health insurance reform is one of the most important investments we can make in American competitiveness.”

Today, the DNC even released a new video, heralding the Business Roundtable’s report.

And almost as important, Republicans aren’t happy.

Tension between Republicans and the nation’s top CEOs over healthcare reform escalated this week when the executives released a report praising aspects of President Barack Obama’s top initiative.

Republicans in Congress and some of their business allies in Washington are fuming over a new report commissioned by the Business Roundtable (BRT), an organization that represents more than 50 of the nation’s biggest corporations.

The report claims that parts of the Democratic legislation could cut healthcare costs substantially.

GOP officials have been angry with the Business Roundtable for not fighting the White House agenda more aggressively, and now the business leaders are, directly or indirectly, helping health care reform efforts. Republicans may not like it, but these executives want to do what’s good for business, and they realize Democratic plans can make a positive difference.

And in the larger context, it’s just that much more difficult to characterize reform as some kind of “radical” attack on free enterprise when the AMA, AARP, and Business Roundtable all think the plan is a good idea.